September 17, 2015
Shackles to come off Wi Pere Trust
The government is lifting the shackles from one of the East Coast's most successful Maori enterprises.
This year's Maori Purposes Bill will remove the crown from the administration of the Wi Pere Trust.
The trust was created in 1899 to administer the estate of prominent East Coast politician Wiremu Pere.
It now has about 460 beneficiaries and net assets of $66 million.
Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says under the current Act, he is responsible as minister for aspects of the trust's administration, and any changes to the way it operates must be done by amending the law.
He says the bill which had its first reading this week will allow the trust to be more commercially flexible while becoming more accountable to beneficiaries.
Currently all land held by Wi Pere is deemed to be Maori freehold land, and the change will enable the trust to hold general land for investment purposes.
Its unique succession provisions will be retained, with beneficial interests limited to direct lineal descendants of Wi Pere, and beneficiaries’ spouses and children who are not lineal descendants getting only life interests.
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